Student organizations and outside businesses on campus accepting credit card payments will be required to provide their own Wi-Fi service next year to maintain compliance with credit card industry-imposed regulations.
Organizations, including the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, Students of Georgetown, Inc. and businesses in Hoya Court, must use their own internet networks.
The regulations, part of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, require all companies that accept credit card payments from major card schemes to host their data on a secure network in order to protect customer data. Because SaxaNet does not meet PCI requirements, outside businesses and clubs accepting credit card payments must purchase and operate their own networks.
Vice President and Chief Information Officer Judd Nicholson said the switch is necessary and important.
“Maintaining compliance with the PCI regulation is very important for both the business, groups and the university to protect our consumers and to avoid steep fines and disruption to business activities,” Nicholson wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The change has been about a two-year process, according to GUASFCU Chief Technology Officer Nick Matz (COL ’18). Outside businesses, such as the ones operating in Hoya Court, transitioned to their own networks first, and the university is now helping student clubs like GUASFCU and The Corp make the switch.
GUASFCU Chief Executive Officer Rupert Kingshott (MSB ’18) said the group recognizes that the university was forced to make the change.
“It’s not like the university wanted to do it, but their hand has been forced by compliance,” Kingshott said. “I do think the university has been very good in the process, and they deserve credit.”
Although the organizations will now have to pay for their own internet, Kingshott and Matz said this likely will not affect the budget of GUASFCU. In fact, Kingshott and Matz are optimistic about what the change could mean for their business.
“The positive side is that we’ll have our own network, which will be good for our own security,” Matz said. “If we want to make changes to our network, we can.”
According to Corp Chief Executive Officer Melina Hsiao (COL ’18), student groups were not given enough time to make the transition to a new network.
“The main frustration is that it’s coming to us late so we don’t have time to put it in our budget, and there was no possibility for us to account for it in advance,” Hsiao said. “We didn’t really have the capacity to take a year to budget for it.”
The Corp is planning to partner with an external organization for the creation of the network. Hsiao said The Corp will outsource much of the work of building their own network, after assessing the job would be too demanding to handle in-house.
“Moving the entire system, building a Wi-Fi network on our own, is a massive undertaking for our IT department,” Hsiao said.
The Corp announced last month it will also be moving Uncommon Grounds from its current location in Sellinger Lounge to the second floor of the Georgetown University Bookstore resulting from the expansion of the bookstore this summer. Hsiao said these two major changes pose a challenge for The Corp’s leadership.
“The combination of the two coming at once is not ideal,” Hsiao said.
However, Hsiao said The Corp will also benefit from owning its own Wi-Fi network, not only for security but also for practicality.
“Building our own Wi-Fi will allow us to intentionally put strong Wi-Fi in physical places where we need it,” Hsiao said.
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